Black Cat Vol. #4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: D+
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Black Cat

Black Cat Vol. #4

By Justin Rich     July 23, 2007
Release Date: May 01, 2007

Black Cat Vol. #4
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Friends watch their company grow while foes are slowly whittled away. Losses for both the Chronos Numbers and the Apostles of the Star can only be good news for the hunted Black Cat. But as one slowly slips from power, the other quickly rises in their wake. And when the largest bounty ever offered lands on the head of Creed Diskenth, Sven will use any distraction to keep Train's vengeance from awakening anew; to keep the hunted from becoming the hunter once more...

The Review!
Can Train actually take down his archrival Creed by himself or will he learn that he needs to rely on his friends to help him?

Due to the fact that there wasn't a 5.1 Japanese track I decided to view the disc in the English DTS instead. The dialogue was clear without drop outs from the first three speakers, with Train continuous gunfire rattling behind you in the rear speakers. I did a spot check on episode eleven The False Cat and found no problems with the Japanese 2.0 soundtrack.

Black Cat began its run in October of 2005 so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination intense fighting sends blended with an imaginative world which differed in each episode. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike.

The disc comes in a white lockcase with an insert that has the cover of volume 5 on one side and a cross promotion with Viz for Black Cat manga on the other. The cover is a white back drop with the Gonzo and FUNimation logos side by side in the upper right corner, Shonen Jump logo sits atop of the Black Cat series title with the disc title "The Cat's Tale" to the lower left and vol. 4 to the lower right. The main picture on the front cover is centered around Sephiria with her sword brandished, Belze behind her blowing hair with Train to the left opposite of Hades to the right and Charden yelling just to the left of the logo. On the back cover is a similar picture of Eve inside the black top half with a ton of screen caps and episode names on the bottom white half.

There is a thirty second sound clip from where Train usually is rushing into battle looping over this dark colored menu, with the Eve book open and hair askew on the left and the series logo with the disc title directly below in white cursive writing to his right.. Below the disc title is Play all, Episodes, Audio and Extras all in gold with a white cat paw as the curser which responds easily and quickly, also as you travel between portions of the disc you move back to the menu with a gold XIII, which adds a nice touch.

One of the major disappointments with this release is once again the anemic amount of special features. The only things on here are textless songs of the opening Dain no Hana by Yoriko and closing Namidaboshi by Puppypet. Also we get a plethora of FUNimation trailers including: the FUNimation channel, Black Cat volume 4, Yu Yu Hakusho rerelease, Solty Rei, Fullmetal Panic TSR volume 4, Burst Angel, Samurai 7, and finally the Z-Store.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the battle with Train the castle of the Apostles of the Stars is obliterated and Creed moves their hideout to a new location. We get to witness Creed's cruelty once more and just how abosuletely sadistic he is as he kills Durham. This causes a large amount of disgust with Charden and Kyoko, even though believe that Chronos is wrong and must be stopped, see Creed's methods as diabolical as well. Charden drives Kyoko home to resume her life as a school girl and of course as a Train Heartnet stalker, and she works hard to make him a chocolate cat.

Kanzaki, aka Doctor, decides that he needs to test his nanotechnology research on Kyoko since she deserted their cause. He arrives at the sweeper house that Kyoko blew up just in time to fire one bullet he made at her, which Train steps in front of, but in turn it makes him turn into a child when they get back to the apartment. This episode where Train is a child turned out to be one of my favorites of the four discs, because we get an in depth look into the past that made Train the killer he was before Saya changed his mind. During this episode we get to see Train growing up under the careful eye of Zanguine the man who assassinated his parents and then raised Train. I do enjoy the strange sense of humor that permeates throughout the series and when Train becomes his normal self by taking a shower it did crack me up.

The third episode starts once again with the flash forward technique which I just really never enjoy with Sephiria talking to Train. Then in a weird twist the rewind back to the top of Creed's castle to finally show the viewer how the battle between Chronos, the Apostles and Train's group ended after a few episode reprieve. Jenos is then made in charge of destroying the Apostle threat, as Sephiria takes on the mission to talk with Train one last time. So she goes to meet Train at the beach house he is recovering at, but she isn't the only person who shows up, for Charden has Sephiria as a target of his own to rid the world of Chronos on his own terms. Charden is an unique character on how he follows his convictions even if he must do it alone with the backing of the Apostles basically making both powerful factions his enemy. The beauty of this battle is that we get more background building, which is the best part of the series as the past gets flushed out on our main characters. Although with Train's more pacifist nature now he interrupts their fight leaving the battle between Charden and Sephiria a draw.

The volume wraps up with Woodney bringing them a job to find a lost pet and Sven makes sure that Train takes it so that he can keep him away from the wanted poster of Creed. Train even though he is lead by his stomach would have gone after Creed for nothing let alone a three billion bounty, and while Train, Eve and Woodney look for the lost lizard Sven answers the call for the Sweeper's Alliance poster that was sitting above Creed's wanted add.

Train goes underground into the sewers with Woodney, Eve and Rinslett to find Flora the missing maneating lizard, while Sven watches the group of sweepers bicker amongst themselves. In the sewers Train et al meet a lost sweeper named River Zastory who ends up getting chased by the T-Rex like lizard Flora. Eventually both Train's group that is trying to avoid being food and Sven's at the Sweeper Alliance come face-to-face as they work together to put the lizard to sleep and then collect the reward.

In Summary:
Black Cat is an extremely manic series with some of the episodes on this volume being fun fluff while others contain a much darker touch to them. The series is definitely character driven and have a volume that is loaded with background insight to their former lives absolutely helps the viewer understand them more. I look forward to seeing how three opposite factions will settle their clear differences over the last eight episodes, although that doesn't sound like nearly enough time to wrap it up.

Japanese 2.0 language,English subtitles
English 2.0 language,English 5.1 DTS language,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 via Monster optical cable. Tv is Sony 55" SXRD Grand Wega 1080p widescreen rear-projection HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player via HDMI cable.


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